On Jobs: February 2012

As the unemployment rate continues to slowly lower, I offer the following thoughts.

  • In January 2008, 7.6 million were unemployed (4.9%)
  • In the 7 months prior to Sept 2008, unemployment grow by 1.259 million
  • From September 2008 through March 2009, unemployment grow by 5.779 million
  • In the 9 months following March 2009, unemployment grew by 1.495 million

If 8.533 million Americans lost their job in the economic collapse of 2008-2009 – and improving the job market by 100,000 per month will take approximately 86 months – that is over 7 years to return to the unemployment rate of January 2008 (4.9%), of course with assumptions.

However, the 86 months does not account for colleges continuing to graduate people ready to enter the job market, nor military personal returning to the civilian workforce – oh, surely we haven’t forgotten that the unemployment rate in those two groups is higher than the average.

If job growth continues to improves, the discouraged worker (unemployed, but not looking) will seek work, thus unemployment could rise. See this graph from Bruce.

Of course given that unemployed has an official definition and that other categories exist, this provides more statistics so any partisan can find numbers to justify their point and to say what other partisans want to hear.

Republicans continually complain about the slow jobs numbers, but they continue never to address the following:

  • Being for smaller government, how many federal workers do you plan to layoff?
  • Being against the auto bailout, how many additional workers would have lost their jobs in addition to the 8.533 million?

To the Democrats and the White House I ask the following:

  • Because the sensible already know, when are you going to stop emphasizing the inherited situation?
  • When are you going to admit that you spent too much political capital on the health care debate at a time when the economy was at the top of the list?

I could go on, but I have already set forth other tough economic questions in these posts: March 2011 and September 2011.

Although none of us are perfect and each of us use a preference filter of some sort, the American public needs to remove their head from their ideological anal orifice, shed the partisan filters, stop listening to political horseshit, and learn to understand the situation – thus checking out what the accuracy and inaccuracies from the talking heads. Then, and only then, the public can have meaningful discussions to not only agree and disagree, but to also determine the course.

Ah – at least now I feel better, but I have little hope for this.

On Some Economic Questions

The US economy is mired in a slump, the European economic crisis add to the woes, and Americans are wondering, “Jobs, jobs, jobs – where art thou job.” Americans have lost over 8 million jobs, yet the economy has created on 2.5 million since the upturn.

For starters, the private sector (not the public sector) is the main job source in a capitalist economy. No matter if consumers are individuals or corporate, increased consumer demand for goods and services is the main fuel for hiring and investment. In other words, regardless of all the partisan talk, government can only do so much. Therefore, it is time to ask some questions.

Reducing payroll taxes for employees increases the money available to workers, but what if workers save more because of the uncertainties in their life?

Tax credits to companies hiring those unemployed for 6 months is a noble thought, but this would primarily fill a vacant existing position – thus not a new job. Do you think any company would create a steady stream of hire-to-fire so can get more credits?

Why should a company expand payroll if their demand for the good or service has not increased?

With demand driving growth, how do reduced regulations increase demand?

Companies are achieving more with less, and are using offshore workers to lower costs. Even with the GOP talking points of lower taxes, less regulations, loosened lending practices, and increased demand, what guarantee do the taxpayers have that the companies will invest in American workers?

A strong financial sector is the foundation for a capitalist economy. With a large reason for our economic troubles directly aimed at the roulette nature of the financial industry and their pseudo-promotion of the housing industry, how can returning to the less-regulated casino environment be good for the economy?

If the housing/building industry drives the demand for much of the economy, what is the plan to stimulate this industry?

Taxes decreases must increase revenue to federal, state, and local governments. What if they don’t?

Infrastructure projects increase the demand for materials while putting more people to work, which also returns money in the form of tax withholdings. However, where/what is the funding source for this investment – and at the expense of doing without what?

Do our leaders construct trade agreements to increase demand?

We have a federal government struggling with the opposing forces of deficit reduction and stimulating demand by providing aid to financially struggling public sectors in order to help local public workers keep their job. Of course, one’s position directly correlates with a concern about the next election.

Meanwhile, as consumers drive demand, three main factors act as significant forces acting on their psychology: high unemployment, a depressed housing market, and a political atmosphere consuming all the oxygen in the room with their battle between the inept, the misguided, and the knowledgeable choosing to be inept or misguided.

With another round of budget ideology ahead of a September 30th deadline, count on Washington lowering not only consumer confidence, but the confidence of the business and banking sectors, thus promoting consumers, businesses, and lending institutions to keep more money on the sidelines.

On Thinking Differenty

I’m not sure why I’m in a sour mood or even pessimistic. Heck, maybe my biorhythms are off today. Nonetheless, I’ve got to get this off my chest – and in advance of President Obama’s speech is as good of a time as any.

While Democrats quote FDR and Clinton, Republicans long for the years of Reagan while integrating quotes from Lincoln into their omnipotent knowledge of the US Constitution. (Yes, my eyes just rolled.)

I hate to inform our elected leaders, but this is not 1776, 1860, 1942, 1996, or even 2000. The world is a much different place than it was just 10 years ago. Today’s world is a global economy meshed with the greatest communication system the world has ever known. Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and phones serving as commuters were not around at the start of the new millennium.

Like it or not, corporate America has been and will continue to use offshore resources as that is today’s economy. Like it or not, many non-US companies are leaders in their field. Hello again, today’s world is a much different place. So, here is the major question: What can we do about the problems the US faces in the modern world?

Well, we can take the Republican approach of focusing of making President Obama a one-term president by disagree with anything and everything, including their own ideas. We can take the Democratic approach and blame as much as possible to the Bush administration and a Republican led Congress. Better yet, why not just take the party line – after all, big dollars are behind party. Just ask your representative how much time they spend fund raising.

Since today’s world is a different place, we need leaders to look at the world the way it is and where it is going – not the way it was. WW II is over. The Cold War is over. It’s not to say that everything in the either party’s ideological box of ideas is good or bad, but these times requires leaders who are willing to meet the challenge to lead America upward and out of this funk.

I listen to the Republican candidates and the main message I hear is fear, dogma, and return to past. As I listen to Democratic leaders, including President Obama, I hear a different message from yesteryear that is also stagnant. I think President Obama knows what I am saying, but I’m unsure if he believes it, thus getting caught up in the Washington quagmire.

Meanwhile, America watches the world change while elected leaders spend exorbitant amounts of energy and resources that lacks forward thinking while focusing on the interests that are behind their party.

On Jobs

I wonder how many times I’ve heard Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) say something about jobs in America. Yes, jobs and the economy is a pressing need – but how many times have politicians used “jobs” as political manure? Let’s face the music!

Company mergers cost jobs. Company A purchases Company B, thus consolidates operations. Jobs are gone and won’t return.

Companies operate with their eye directly on the bottom line. If the company moves jobs to another country to lower labor cost in order to achieve a certain target, then that’s what is done. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Some companies move operations to another country because of environmental laws. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Companies have been downsizing, thus doing with less. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Many aspects of manufacturing as textiles have gone elsewhere, and probably won’t return.

In manufacturing that remains, technology has replace what employees used to do, so those jobs won’t return.

Many look at government jobs as being the most stable, yet the current political climate is to cut, cut, cut – thus eliminating jobs.

As our politicians look to cut spending, especially by the Department of Defense, I wonder how many jobs will be lost in defense equipment and its supply chain.

The next time anyone hears Mr. Boehner or any other politician ask Where are the jobs?, let us remember that unless they detail specifics about a plan (and good luck with that), their statement is nothing more than political rhetoric for the benefit of their party. Just listen below to hear the party rhetoric of regulations and taxes. Meanwhile,  many Americans need jobs.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 84

On the Jobs Council
President Obama recently appointed General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt (also a Republican) to lead the new jobs council. I wonder how many jobs GE outsources out the country. Then again, maybe Mr. Immelt offers a perspective on how to increase US jobs.

On the Upcoming Budget Talks
February will be an interesting month as negotiations with the Federal budget begin. Yes – the talk between the partisan ideologues, the wackos, and the pragmatic will deliver interesting light to we who anxiously listen.

Will this strange marriage occur? That is, the political left that doesn’t want the US military fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq uniting with the political right that is against fighting a war we can’t afford. Since time will tell, we’ll wait.

On Revisiting the Gulf War
The Gulf War to free Kuwait was 20 years ago. NBC’s Brian Williams had this interesting 40-minute interview with our main leaders at the time.

On the Bearcat Basketball
For much of the 1990s and into the new millennium, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats (love them or hate them) were a force to be reckoned with in college basketball. In 2005, then (now gone) UC President Nancy Zimpher decided the program needed a fresh start, thus dismantled the program. I recently added a home game – one with a small, subdued crowd. I gazed into the upper deck and renamed the empty seats in Zimpher’s honor. Meanwhile, this weekend UC fans will welcome back former coach Bob Huggins with open arms.

On FYIs

  • Actor James Franco, one of the hosts for the upcoming Oscars show, is a PhD student at Yale.
  • A University of Utah study shows that people have already given up on 40% of New Years’ resolutions.
  • Farting in public can be dangerous – even deadly.
  • Most vegans don’t eat marshmallows.
  • Insomniacs should get out of bed of better sleep (huh?)
  • Being ballroom dancers, we’ll see Burn the Floor this weekend.
  • Which is riskier: smoking or taking Chantix?

On a Worldly Example of a Hero
CNN honored Narayanan Krishnan a few months ago as one of its Top 10 Heroes. Cheers to him for demonstrating amazing goodness to fellow humans, and thanks to Mckenzie for identifying this powerful video.

Have a safe weekend.